Daniel Karg ’57: It filled a part of my college career

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Daniel Karg ’57 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) looks back with fondness on his years at Penn State in Alpha Zeta. His story starts in a “different era” with humble beginnings. “I was the oldest of eight children living in Seneca Pennsylvania. I had not planned on going to college but was persuaded to by my principal and advisor who told me a friend was going to Penn State. So I worked on a pipeline log clearing crew to get money for college. In 1953 the tuition was $125 and room and board $500 per semester.” 

Karg came to Alpha Zeta after a tumultuous first year. “At that time we had a grading scale with -2 an F up to a +3 an A. Some teachers were notorious for the "bar two" which could take away from the GPA. Anyhow I managed to get through the first year and changed my major to Ag Education. I also enrolled in the ROTC. In my second year, I lived downtown in someone's house where I rented a room. I also worked on the Penn State farms, mostly the poultry farm.” 

Karg started to think about belonging to a fraternity because of the “blue books” that brothers would take home from tests. “At that time fraternity houses had filing cabinets full of past subject tests taken home by brothers studying for tests. I also wanted to have a fraternity on my resume. I also needed a place to stay and regular good meals (Susie and her daughter). I knew some AZ brothers from classes and works and probably in my junior year I was accepted. My grades were not as high as were most of the brothers then but they took me in. 

“As a pledge, I had to show leadership but that was hard to do as I was a pledge class of one. Walt Edelen ’57 was the pledge master and we did have a group of out-of-house pledges I soon organized. With my vast military knowledge, I planned an operation to take Walt during the night and to Hamilton Hall (independent) for a shower. During the night we silently got him out of bed, did the deed, and brought him back to his bed without getting caught. Then all hell broke loose and the brothers, including Chancellor Dick Pharo, put me through what might be called hazing. Anyhow, I was accepted into the brotherhood and Dick was my roommate until I went for student teaching.” 

He recalls the many exploits that he and his friends went on during his time at AZ: “Other incidents such as the cow in the water tower was a myth. It was actually a calf from the cow barns. We did collect bull farts in gallon jugs, wrestling for the house, house parties, party on Mt. Nittany (three of us rode My Lambretta scooter up it) and enjoy Greek days. 

“Looking back I don't know how we got anything done as I and many others worked dining halls, other frats, farms, played for square dances, did AROTC, and almost anything for money. I left Penn State and AZ debt-free. My graduation ceremony for Penn State was in uniform. I was commissioned 2nd lt. I later went to airborne school and was honorably discharged in 1968. I missed Korea and Vietnam and am so thankful I never had to do the things I was trained for.” 

In answer to why he gives back to AZ, Dan writes, “I am not really sure. It filled a part of my college career and I got to know some really great people who forced me to do things I would not have done without their encouragement. I have had very few contacts with brothers since 1957 but I remember our in-school contacts and conversations (William Penn cigars). I have felt a need to contribute monetarily to what I have not done socially.” 

Dan is now a retired teacher, and he and his wife of 58 years have 9 children and 20+ grandchildren. “We have a lumber business which involves my wife of 58 years and helps now and then. She is a stroke victim and we have dealt with that for seven years...I hope what I give will help some students today and will also keep the beautiful on-campus house up to date and debt-free.” 

It filled a part of my college career and I got to know some really great people.